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Blog Car Care Advice The Service AdvanceTrac Warning Light: Meaning, Causes, Fixes & 3 FAQs

The Service AdvanceTrac Warning Light: Meaning, Causes, Fixes & 3 FAQs

July 31, 2022

AdvanceTrac is Ford’s proprietary version of the Electronic Stability Control (ESC). It utilizes a series of electronic sensors to monitor wheel speed and other aspects of vehicle stability.

“Service AdvanceTrac” is a warning light that alerts every Ford vehicle owner when there’s something wrong with the engine. 

In this article, we’ll explore Ford Service AdvanceTrac in detail, including its causes, solution, and answers to some related queries. 

This Article Contains: 

Let’s begin!

What Does “Service AdvanceTrac” Mean?

When the Service AdvanceTrac light turns on, it means that your car, truck, or SUV’s computerized system detects a fault that needs immediate attention.

Similar to the ESC system, AdvanceTrac helps the driver maintain control over their car or truck, especially when driving under bad road conditions. 

It consists of the following: 

Some AdvanceTrac systems may also consist of a Roll Stability Control (RSC) system that reduces power to prevent rollover while maintaining all four wheels on the ground. Others may have a Trailer Sway Control (TSC) system that monitors individual wheel speeds and activates the electric braking system when necessary.

Note: The Service AdvanceTrac warning light is seen in all Ford vehicles, including the Ford F150, Ford Edge, Ford Explorer, etc. 

Let’s find out more.

What Triggers The Service AdvanceTrac Light?

As a Ford vehicle owner, here are the factors to look out for that can trigger the Ford AdvanceTrac light: 

1. Limp Mode Activated

The limp mode is a security feature in cars that is activated when the engine or transmission control unit picks up a fault (like an unresponsive brake pedal). So when your Ford vehicle enters limp mode, it will trigger a lot of warning signals, including the service AdvanceTrac warning light.

Note: The limp mode can often disable several functions in your car or truck in an attempt to protect the engine. Contact your Ford dealer as soon as you notice an illuminated Service AdvanceTrac warning light or Traction Control Light.

2. Tires/Wheels Mismatch

The Service AdvanceTrac light may also turn on if it identifies mismatched or wrong tires on your Ford vehicle. Since mismatched wheels may alter your driving experience, the computerized system will detect abnormalities in the wheel speed via the sensors.

As a result, it’s best to closely follow the vehicle manufacturer’s manual when changing tires, and let your mechanic handle the repairs

3. Damaged Clock Spring

Your vehicle’s clock spring is responsible for supplying power to the steering angle sensor, the airbag, and the power steering wheel buttons. 

So, a damaged clock spring will alter the proper functioning of these components and affect the AdvanceTrac system, triggering the warning light.

4. Defective Wheel Speed Sensor Or Steering Angle Sensor

The wheel speed sensor (sometimes called the ABS module sensor) is responsible for detecting the speed at which each wheel spins. It sends this information to the ECM (Engine Control Module) so that the ECM can detect when traction is lost. 

A faulty wheel speed sensor or ABS module sensor will send the wrong data to the control module, thus triggering the service AdvanceTrac warning light.

The power steering angle sensor is located inside the steering column and is in charge of accurately measuring the steering wheel’s angle, position, and rate of return. 

A faulty power steering angle sensor usually triggers the Traction Control Light, but it can also sometimes turn on the Service AdvanceTrac light. 

5. Bad Sensor Wiring

The Service AdvanceTrac system works with different stability-related sensors. So if there are any slight disconnections in one or more sensors’ wiring harness, it can alter the functioning of the AdvanceTrac system and trigger the light.

In this case, the problem will persist until you correct the faulty sensor wiring.

Note: The exact triggers of your Service AdvanceTrac light can vary depending on your vehicle model, like the Ford Edge, Ford F150, Ford Explorer, etc. Contact your mechanic to know more.

Let’s see how this warning light is resolved.

How Is Service AdvanceTrac Fixed?

In most cases, the only appropriate way to fully repair the Service AdvanceTrac light on your Ford motor company vehicle is to first diagnose the root cause. 

Here’s how that’s done: 

  1. Put the car on the parking brake. Connect your vehicle to an OBDII scanner and obtain all active service codes in the engine. Do a test drive and reset the codes and use the OBDII scanner to see if they persist. 
  1. If the Service AdvanceTrac light persists, examine each wheel’s speed sensor and corresponding wiring harness pigtail. Look for any signs of frayed, pinched, or corroded wires above the brake pedal.
  1. Make sure that all connections between these sensors are viable. Unplug each speed sensor pigtail and check for water intrusion.
  1. Inspect the supply voltage and ground at corresponding modules within the system. Disengage the parking brake and perform a test drive.

Once your mechanic has diagnosed the problem with your Service AdvanceTrac light, they may conduct the following repairs to fix it: 

In some cases, a simple programming update can be installed to rid your vehicle of Ford AdvanceTrac related software issues. So it’s best to visit your dealership and let them handle the repairs. 

Now, let’s explore some FAQs related to this warning light.

3 FAQs About The Service AdvanceTrac Light

Here are some queries about Advance Trac and its answers. 

1. How Much Does Service AdvanceTrac Repair Costs?

Generally, you can expect to pay between $100 and $250, excluding labor charges. This can vary depending on your mechanic and repair shop’s location. You may also have to pay for other repairs, like a blown fuse or switch. 

2. Is It Safe To Drive With An Illuminated Service AdvanceTrac Control Light?

The Service Advance Trac light indicates faults with the car’s AdvanceTrac technology. Therefore, driving with this light illuminated is not entirely safe, and isn’t recommended by most mechanics. 

3. What Is the Difference Between The Traction Control System & AdvanceTrac Technology?

The Traction Control system primarily controls the rear wheel spin. So spinning the rear tires makes the traction control pull engine power and apply rear brakes to prevent spinning.

Service AdvanceTrac is a type of Traction Control that performs a similar function. However, it also applies a front brake to pull the vehicle back into a horizontal line. 

Note: A lit Traction Control Light (TCL) isn’t always bad. Sometimes it just means that the Traction Control system is working. Always make a point to understand what the TCL means for your specific vehicle.

Final Thoughts

AdvanceTrac technology monitors the stability of the car steering and helps prevent skidding occurrences whenever traction is lost. So if you see the Ford AdvanceTrac light turned on, it’s best to reach out to a mechanic for a proper diagnosis. 

Why not let RepairSmith handle the diagnosis and repairs? 

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